The importance of friendships

Today, we had a play date with another #PDA family.

We made all the adjustments and negotiations in order for that to happen successfully – the kind of things that most other parents would not imagine to be needed just to visit a friend.

Tonight, I got choked up when I read these words…

Thank you:

We’ve had such a lovely day today with no pressure on time and no fear of what happens when anxiety takes over for a while. There is no judgement in this house, just kindness and friendship.

We witnessed two beautiful PDA girls learning how to play, share and enjoy time together whilst also including their siblings. It could have been chaotic but it was fun and rewarding. Ending in a selfless act of friendship when it was really hard to say goodbye, as a toy was offered and lent to confirm they’d play again!

I think you may have to live with PDA to truly understand how monumental and special today was.

Thank you for understanding and sharing your home with us today. It’s amazing and uplifting to meet others who accept what goes on underneath the surface of a child with PDA and understand the need to walk on egg-shells and either race, negotiate or distract to keep things calm.

Today was the first day when life has actually felt normal visiting friends!

The day I first met this mum (about two years ago) she had set up her own support group and offered to drive out to me. She was kind, warm and empathic as well as going out of her way to help another person in need.

It hasn’t been easy – like so many other PDA parents she had been on a journey too, yet she still found it in herself to help others.

She didn’t know then, but like so many other families that she has helped, she gave me a sense to believe again.

To have faith, maybe things could improve with my daughter if I could learn to adapt.

I did just that.

She was further along than me and I needed her guidance, but I’d like to think now I’ve reciprocated that kindness to new parents I meet.

The icing on the cake happened today at our play date when we made the impossible possible.

The PDA girls understood and supported each other when things got tough – emotionally they were hand in hand. The PDA parenting techniques we use were even employed by our children to save one another.

One went away worrying about her friend and if she would be sad if her expectations were not met.

The other had given away her toy to soothe her friend’s sadness to ease a transition.

Each one trying to use theory of mind to predict how the other may be feeling.

Maybe, just maybe, they could understand how difficult a play date could be for each other.

Those around us assume these children don’t have empathy, well I can assure you they do, it can come in bucket loads.

It may just not look the same way to how we assume it looks.

More over, empathy is not at all achievable when the child is in anxiety overload.

I need to hold on to today and the progress we have made.

I often lose sight of these very powerful steps.

I will now look forward to spending more time together and allowing these friendships to blossom.

It’s good to feel normal again, well, however that looks.

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